Dangerously Ever After
By Dashka Slater, Ill. Valeria Docampo
Slater, D. 2012. Dangerously ever after. NY: Penguin.
Princess Amantia is not like most princesses: she loves dangerous things. She particularly loves her garden full of dangerous things, plants that explode, pinch, pierce, and other terrors. When a wandering Prince Florian mistakes some hanging fruits to be grapes, rather than grenapes, which explode after being cut and destroy the Princess’ wheelbarrow, he apologizes by bringing her roses. While she is initially unimpressed with these flowers, their only talent being to “smell nice,” she notices their thorns and becomes immediately enamored with them. She must have some for her palace!
But when Prince Florian’s gardener sends her rose seeds of her own, they blossom into noses that are allergic to her own plants. Along with her now sneezing plants, Princess Amantia ventures to find the Prince’s kingdom to figure out what happens, but that journey proves to be a lot more dangerous than she had imagined, and not the kind of danger she liked.
ATOS Book Level: 4.1
Interest level: Lower grades (K-3)
Lexile: AD780L (Adult directed reading)
This book is a big play on words: the difference between flowers “smelling good” and flowers “SMELLING good” which could put it over some kids heads. It’s meant to be read aloud to a class, because the pages are densely written and feature big words. The plot deals with fantastical elements that are clearly fantasy, and the plot is linear and chronologically straightforward, but again relies on pun and word play.
Curriculum Tie Ins:
The wordplay is great for reinforcing the understanding of how words can have different meanings. It also bucks the trend of Disney princesses, featuring a princess that values dangerous things and adventure over the affection of a prince.
1.0 General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).
1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts
a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background
b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres
c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations
3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.
Author’s website: http://dashkaslater.com/
Personal thoughts: I really loved this book and thought that it served well to counter a lot of the typical princess books. It is good reinforcement for girls who are not as much drawn to the pink/fluffy/princess type tropes.